The Hot Zone: Anthrax Press Kit

Getting journalists to open a press kit is half the battle. National Geographic’s custom mailer for “The Hot Zone: Anthrax” was impossible to ignore as it enticed the receiver to solve a mystery. The shipping box had the tune-in on it and was “wrapped” in caution tape. Inside there was a large case that could only be opened by inputting a code—12821, the premiere date for the show. The scripted anthology series takes place in 2001, weeks after 9/11 when letters containing anthrax were sent to unsuspecting victims. The press kit contained a UV flashlight to discover hidden clues on press materials, including the press release, character bios and unit photos, to help crack the case. There also was a USB drive in a petri dish with episodic screeners. The case also had a branded air purifier to refresh the workspace during the investigation and reduce any potential harmful airborne irritants. Each journalist also got a special agent badge that included their name, and certain key journalists received a personalized special agent badge that also included their photo. The kit was a hit on social media, with several outlets including ET and TV Guide Magazine, posting online.

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